SMS is one of the best communication channels for reaching customers and prospects – it's direct, familiar, fast and cost-effective. But your SMS strategy could fail if you send out a poorly written text or don't follow basic business text messaging etiquette.

Here's what you need to know to write better text messages and increase the effectiveness of your campaigns.

The framework for professional text messages

Before we explain what it takes to write a great professional text message that resonates with your subscribers, let's go over the basics. No matter what type of SMS campaign you're creating, be sure to follow these golden rules...

  • Always get permission – if you're sending SMS marketing campaigns, you'll need to obtain express written consent from subscribers first. This is a legal requirement in most countries.

  • Allow opt-outs – another legal requirement (where text marketing is concerned) is to include a method of opting out from future text messages within your SMS content. You can do that via an unsubscribe link or by asking the recipient to text a keyword such as 'STOP' to opt out.

  • Be considerate with timing – it's best practice to send business text messages during working hours. Avoid sending before 8am and after 9pm (these are the 'do not call' hours stipulated in U.S. law).

  • Don't go overboard with frequency – bombarding customers with text messages will only lead to complaints and opt-outs. Test the number of texts per week or month your subscribers will tolerate – start with one or two per week and keep a close eye on your opt-out rate.

  • Keep text messages short – if your text message exceeds the character limit – typically 160 characters – it'll count as two or more texts. To keep costs down, be concise with wording and use the space available in one text message. (Need to send longer than average texts? Learn about concatenated SMS.)

  • Proofread before sending – sounds obvious, but you'd be surprised how many texts end up with typos and change the message’s meaning entirely!

Example text with spelling errors

Tips to help you write better text messages

You'll only need a sentence or two at most when you write SMS messages. However, there's much to consider to ensure your text messages connect with your audience. Here are five tips along with some great examples to inspire you.

1. Personalise your message

91% of consumers are more likely to use brands that provide relevant recommendations and offers. So focus on relevancy. Use customer insights to segment your subscriber list and send targeted, personalised text messages. (Don't forget to address the recipient by name!)

Avoid this:

Hey! Get massive savings on stationery, clothing and tech in our store-wide sale! Shop now: [URL]

Instead, opt for:

Hey Emily, hope you're enjoying your leather bullet journal! Our journal sleeves are currently on sale if you want to protect the cover. Shop now: [URL]

2. Use simple and clear language

Jargon and abbreviations can come across as confusing. Use simple language and only abbreviate words if it's what your audience expects. Avoid using too many capital letters and emojis – this indicates high emotions like excitement, frustration, anger or panic. (However, a little excitement is fine under the right circumstances!)

Don't write this:

Hey ADAM! U left something in your cart!!! Act FAST and CHECKOUT B4 it's too L8! [URL]

Write this instead:

You left something in your shopping cart, Adam! It's not too late to checkout; click here to finish your purchase: [URL]

3. Write compelling copy

The best text messages offer real value to the recipient. As a general rule, make every text you send useful in some way. Some text messages are naturally helpful, e.g. payment or appointment reminders; however, marketing texts should include specific benefits to encourage engagement.

Don't write this:

Hi Anya, we're running a flash sale between 28-30 July! Grab a bargain – browse the sale here: [URL]

Write this:

Anya, we're slashing prices! Get 30-50% off all summer clothing and sandals between 28-30 July. Browse the sale – hurry while stocks last! [URL]

4. Include a clear call-to-action

Increase engagement by telling subscribers what you want them to do after reading your text message. That might be clicking a link, calling a phone number or texting a reply.

Avoid vague messaging like this:

Hi Ramesh, please submit additional documents so we can process your loan application.

Write informative text instead:

Hi Ramesh, we need a copy of your driving licence so we can process your loan application. Upload it here: [URL]

5. Include contact information

If you're text messaging a lead for the first time, include your contact details so they know who you are and how to respond if necessary.

Don't do this:

Hi Alison, great to meet you on Saturday at the wedding fair. Can you email me some pics of what you'd like and I'll send a quote?

Do this:

Hi Alison, it's Sally from Bridal Beauty – we met Sat at the wedding fair. Please email example bridal makeup pics and I'll send a quote.

Related: 13 Signature Templates for Business Texting.

Example text with contact details

Write better text messages for campaign success

The quality and structure of your message content are crucial if you want to capture subscribers' attention and increase your SMS campaigns' effectiveness. Writing texts in a way that resonates becomes reasonably straightforward once you've got to grips with the golden rules and tips mentioned here.

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